Thursday, March 31, 2011

Note 114

114 The Bards conceive, etc.—The meaning of this period is too evident to require a note. But, in order to shew that the commentators of India are not less fond of searching for mystery, and wandering from the simple path of their author into a labyrinth of scholastic jargon, than some of those of more enlightened nations, who for ages have been labouring to entangle the plain unerring clew of our holy religion, the Translator, in this place, will intrude the following literal version of the comment written upon it by one Srēē-dhăr Swāmēē, whose notes upon the whole are held in as much esteem as the text, which at this day, they say, is unintelligible without them. It can seldom happen that a commentator is inspired with the same train of thought and arrangement of ideas as the author whose sentiments he presumes to expound, especially in metaphysical works. The Translator hath seen a comment, by a zealous Persian, upon the wanton odes of their favorite Poet Hafiz, wherein every obscene allusion is sublimated into a divine mystery, and the host and the tavern are as ingeniously metamorphosed into their Prophet and his holy temple.

Note by Srēē-Dhăr Swāmĕĕ,

To the Passage Above Alluded To.

The Bards, &c.—The Vēds say—“Let him who longeth for children make offerings. Let him who longeth for heaven make offerings, &c. &c.” The Bards understand Sănnyās to be a forsaking, that is, a total abandonment, of such works as are performed for the accomplishment of a wish, such works as are bound with the cord of desire. The Păndĕĕts know, that is, they understand, Sănnyās to imply also a forsaking of all works, together with all their fruits. The disquisitors, that is, such as expound or make clear, call Tyāg a forsaking of the fruit only of every work that is desirable, whether such as are ordained to be performed constantly, or only at stated periods; and not a forsaking of the work itself. But how can there be a forsaking of the fruit of such constant and stated works as have no particular fruit or reward annexed to them? The forsaking of a barren woman’s child cannot be conceived.—It is said—“Although one who longeth for heaven, or for a store of cattle, &c. should all his life perform the ceremonies which are called Săndyā, or feed the fire upon the altar, and in these and the like ceremonies, no particular reward has ever been heard of; yet whilst the law is unable to engage a provident and wary man in a work where no human advantage is to be seen, at the same time it ordaineth that even he who hath conquered the universe, &c. shall perform sacrifices; still for these, and the like religious duties, it hath appointed some general reward.”—But it is the opinion of Gŏŏrŏŏ, that the law intended these works merely for its own accomplishment. Such a tenet is unworthy of notice, because of the difficulty of obliging men to pay attention to those works.—It is also said, that there is a reward annexed to the general and particular duties; that they who perform them shall become inhabitants of the Pŏŏnyă-lōk; that by works the Pĕĕtrĕĕ-lōk is to be attained; that by good works crimes are done away, &c. &c. Wherefore it is properly said,—that they call Tyāg a forsaking of the fruits of every action.”

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